Preheat your oven for a family favorite recipe for The Best Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting made with a surprising technique twist!
I always hesitate to name a recipe “The Best.” It makes you wonder where you go next once “The Best” is achieved.
And the answer is nowhere. You go nowhere.
You bake this cake. You sit down. You eat this cake. And then you never search for another banana cake recipe for the rest of your life. Deal?
This banana cake is one of those recipes I grew up on, never really knowing where the mysterious notecard splattered with cake batter and vanilla extract—the pre-online indication of a well-loved recipe—came from.
But thanks to the interwebs, it’s been digitized, and in return, it’s floated from recipe site to food blog, magazine to cookbook. And now it’s landed here.
Banana cake can often get a bad rap for being secondary to its carrot cake counterpart. But there’s room for veggie-packed and fruit-filled cakes at our table. This cake is a great way to make use of overripe bananas, but if your bananas aren’t looking as speckled (read: sweet!) as you’d hope, check out my simple trick for how to ripen bananas in less than 15 minutes!
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For the cake:
- 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 2 1/8 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
For the frosting:
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, chilled
- 11 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temp
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Make the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 275°F. Grease and flour two round 9-by-2-inch cake pans. (See Kelly’s Notes.)
- In a small bowl, combine the mashed bananas with the lemon juice and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time.
- Add the vanilla and then beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk.
- Fold in the mashed banana mixture and divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. (See Kelly’s Notes.)
- Bake the cakes for 55 to 60 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Remove the cakes from the oven, place them on baking sheets and immediately transfer them to the freezer for 45 minutes to cool while you make the frosting.
Make the frosting:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the butter and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into the bowl, then add the vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Remove the cakes from the freezer and transfer one cake onto your serving platter. Top the cake with half of the cream cheese frosting. Place the second cake on top and frost it with the remaining cream cheese frosting. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the chopped walnuts (optional). Slice and serve.
- The secret tip that makes this recipe the best-ever banana cake is that the cake bakes up low and slow at 275°F for about 1 hour. It will be less moist if you try to rush the cooking time and avoid placing it in the freezer straight from the oven. The blast of cool air helps seal in the moisture.
- It’s important to note that the round cake pans are 9 inches wide by 2 inches tall. The amount of batter in this recipe will not fit in round cake pans that are only 1 inch tall.
- This recipe will also work with a 9-by-13-by-2-inch cake pan. The baking time will vary, so it’s important to test the cake with a toothpick after it’s baked for about 50 minutes.
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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.
Ratings this THE BEST BANANA CAKE EVER IN MY OPINION IS A SUPER star recipe!!’ I have now made this recipe at least 10 times for birthdays, anniversaries gifts, and my family keeps asking me to do it again and again and again thank you so much for this wonderful banana cake recipe
Woohoo! I’m so thrilled you’ve been enjoying the recipe, Janice!
This banana cake is is beyond DElicious! I have been making banana cakes for 40+ years and was amazed at how moist and delicious this cake is and was! I only use this recipe for my banana cake
This is what I love to read, Janice! I’m thrilled you enjoyed the recipe!
This cake is crazy delicious and so moist not to mention that cream cheese frosting makes this cake perfect. My family loves it and it’s definitely my new favorite
Woohoo! I’m so thrilled your family enjoyed the recipe, Mary!
Soooo moist and delicious. Got a lot of compliments:)
So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Brooklyn!
For the banana cake did you use self rising flour or plain flour… Or swans down flower
This recipe uses all-pourpse flour!
Can I make this cake in three layers ?if so, what will be the baking time? Please and thank you
Hi Joyce! Feel free to divide the batter into three layers. The bake time will depend on what size cake pans you use!
Ooh my looks do yummy!-wish you had it in metrics measurements as well…
Hi there! I don’t provide metric conversions for my recipes, as I cannot guarantee they would be 100% accurate without being tested. However, you are welcome to use an online converter. :)
This cake is the best! I found it originally on Allrecipes.com and have been making it for years now. So glad this continues to be shared. I make mine in a 9X13 pan.
So glad you’ve been enjoying the recipe!
I only have one 9-inch pan but I still want to make a layer cake, so would you recommend making half the recipe, baking it, and then cut it in half, or put it all in one pan and cut it in half from there? Also, if I do the first thing, should I make the same amount of frosting?
Hi Lanie! I’d just bake the one layer, let it cool, then transfer it to a cooling rack or plate, and then bake the remaining batter in the same pan. Hopefully I understood your question!
I’ve been making this recipe for several years and YES it’s absolutely THE BEST Banana Cake you’ll ever taste!!! I’ve been baking over 50 years and this is one of my most requested recipes… I can only compare it to carrot cake. It’s dense and very flavorful and the cream cheese frosting is excellent! I always make it in a 13x9x2 pan and never have to double the frosting recipe. The recipe frosts the cake perfectly. I think the secret to this cake is baking at a low temperature and putting it in the freezer out of the oven. I remember the first time I made it I was concerned about the freezer but you won’t find a better recipe than this! It doesn’t taste like banana bread. It’s definitely a cake but a decadent one. Try this recipe and you’ll be hooked! I actually make it for birthdays too. Excellent Recipe! The Best Ever!!!
Love, love, LOVE reading this Suzy! I’m so thrilled you’ve been enjoying the recipe! :)
This banana cake is the best!!!
Thank you for that wonderful recipe!!!!!!
Yay! I’m so thrilled you enjoyed the recipe, Gwendolyn!
AMAZING Cake !! A nice fresh taste to the finished product. Not over the top sweet. The low and slow then put in the freezer process is a game changer. Really makes a difference. You have to try it. Can the technique be used for other cakes ? Note: This is a LARGE cake. Bring your appetite. Also, should I keep the cake in the refrigerator or on the counter? Covered of course. Oh, and I used Kelly’s trick to ripen bananas in 15 minutes. Check it out. My Mom is going to love this cake for Mother’s Day !!
Hi Lauren! I recommend storing it in the fridge. And yes, the freezer technique works for other cakes as well. :)
Very very moist!!#
Hi! Quick question, is it ok if I make this without the lemon juice? I dont have any with me at home.
Yes, you can skip it!
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